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Finding Your Life's Work

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Finding Your Life's Work

Published 1940

Classic vocational guidance film produced to snap America's teenagers out of a Depression mood.

Run time 18:52
Producer Holmes (Burton) Films, Inc.
Sponsor Vocational Guidance Films, Inc.
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


Appraisal. Reported good for (1) indicating steps in a systematic selection of a vocation, (2) suggesting the character traits helpful in obtaining and keeping work, and (3) indicating the possible vocational contribution of various school subjects to vocational training. Found useful in directing students' attention toward the selection of a vocation.
It was indicated that the film would be most useful as an introduction to or an overview of the problem of vocational choice. Some guidance consultants may consider the film overoptimistic concerning job opportunities for youth.
Photography and sound are good.

Contents. The necessity for a planned approach to vocational choice, personal qualities necessary for vocational success, and the importance of school training as a basis for occupational success.
The first sequence presents an analogy of fishing and job-hunting. As a fisherman lands a catch, the commentator describes the special bait employed for game fish. As a man scans the "Help Wanted" column, the commentator says that searching for work is "fishing" for a job and that what is obtained will be determined by the bait offered Ñ- training, experience, and education.
The second sequence begins with a title stating that as a job searcher you should "know yourself" -- your weaknesses, likes, and dislikes. Students are shown taking aptitude tests. The commentator's discussion of the importance of finding a job that one can do well is illustrated by views of workers at several types of jobs. Another phase of self-examination is illustrated as a boy consults his school record and talks to his counselor. A failure in mathematics suggests that the student would probably be unsuccessful in the occupations closely connected with that subject. Further views emphasize the commentator's statement that in life, as in school, people are graded by what they do. The importance of character is illustrated by views of a Boy Scout being decorated in a Court of Honor. Further inquiry into personal qualities begins as the commentator asks, "Do you like to work with ideas or things?" Both types of work are illustrated. Then the commentator asks, "Do you prefer going with a crowd, or would you rather spend the day alone?" Scenes of a boy who prefers to work in his basement laboratory are contrasted with scenes of a picnic crowd. There are views of chemical laboratories as the commentator says that the research worker is generally the type who prefers to work alone. Determination to succeed is described as another important factor in vocational success. Thrift is stressed as one means of assuring the achievement of life goals. Hobbies are described as important means of affording relaxation and as possible profit-making occupations in time of need.
The next sequence concerns the study of occupations to determine those in which the individual is interested. The commentator's statement that each individual can do several things successfully is illustrated by a drawing of a boy at a crossroads. The commentator states that a definite plan should be followed in studying occupations and that ideas should be obtained from wide reading, talking with successful people, and viewing movies. Those vocations chosen for further study should be viewed from the standpoint of advantages and disadvantages. A series of titles follow which ask significant questions concerning the nature of the work and its probable rewards.
The value of school work in preparing for vocational work is indicated. English and literature are described as affording a means of learning to speak and write correctly and to obtain pleasure in reading. The statement that the social sciences enable one to better understand conditions of today is illustrated by views of modern government functions and transportation facilities. The mathematics department is described as effective in showing people how to solve problems that come up in everyday life. The science department offers appreciation of the place of science in our lives. Physical training helps build healthy bodies. The fine arts department develops an appreciation of great works of art and music and cultivates the talents of those who have artistic ability. Commercial work prepares students with skills that may enable them to obtain employment. The homemaking department trains girls to be good housewives and efficient buyers. The industrial arts department acquaints students with industrial processes, tool work, and the need for buying with discrimination. In agriculture, matters important to owners and operators of farms are taken up.
The next sequence concerns types of jobs. A chart illustrates the commentator's statement that of every 100 workers, only 13 have jobs based entirely on mental skill, 18 have jobs based entirely on manual skill, and the remaining 69 do work which requires that the hand and mind work together in perfect coordination.
The final sequence which is concerned with the various individual aspects that contribute to success in life employs a building block analogy. Blocks representing health, character, general education, citizenship, special interests and ability, ambition, willingness to work, and special training are assembled and crowned by a block representing "Success." The commentator's statement that there are employment opportunities in this country today is illustrated by views of young people calling at employment bureaus and of business houses where "Help Wanted" signs are displayed.



Reviewer: Christine Hennig - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 5, 2006
Subject: Don't Worry About the Depression, Kids, You'll Find a Job If You Have Good Character
This 30s vocational guidance film tries to help teenagers choose their careers. Itâs mostly the standard line about knowing your strengths and weaknesses, exploring your interests, and researching possible career directions. Whatâs interesting about this is the time it was made, a time when unemployment was extremely high and most young people had little choice about what career field to enter, given that college financial aid was non-existent, careers for women were few and very low-paying, and it was still very common for young men to go into their fathersâ careers. They try to deal with this by paying lip service to the fact that the students might not be able to afford the training for some careers and that girls will learn to be good housewives in home ec class. They also give a pep talk at the end, saying that âopportunities do exist if youâre willing to take them,â and that âAmericans have always created their own opportunities.â Considering how severe the Depression was, this lends a depressing air to the proceedings, though perhaps some of these kids had better opportunities after World War II, assuming they didnât get killed. The film does have lots of great visuals in it, such as a teen surrounded by question marks, a teen trying to choose among several different roads, and a âfoundation of successâ made of building blocks marked with such things as âhealthâ and âcharacterâ. An interesting relic from the early days of vocational guidance.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavorite - May 10, 2003
Subject: Guilt Prodder
In this delirious film, one wonders how much guilt and pressure the filmmakers wanted to place on the students to get their point across. They hammer question after question on these poor souls who are expected to look for work. This type of film isn't really going to make it easier on them, if anything, it will add to their dilemma.
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